HomeFinance NewsPersonal financeRetirement Nightmare: Majority of Americans Face a Bleak Financial Future

Retirement Nightmare: Majority of Americans Face a Bleak Financial Future


53% of Americans surveyed feel they are behind on retirement planning and savings, CNBC poll finds


According to a recent survey by CNBC and SurveyMonkey, a staggering 53% of Americans feel unprepared for retirement.

They fear they may not have saved enough or started planning early.

Despite the importance of retirement accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s, only about half of American households possess such accounts, and their median balance is around $87,000.

This figure is especially concerning for those nearing retirement, as many have saved less than $71,000 in their 401(k)-type accounts.

Several factors hinder Americans’ ability to save for retirement.

Lower-income families often prioritize immediate financial needs over retirement planning.

Competing financial obligations, such as emergency funds, college savings, and housing expenses, further deplete potential retirement savings.

The recent surge in inflation has exacerbated this problem, reducing Americans’ purchasing power and making it even harder to set aside funds.

The transition to 401(k) plans from traditional pensions has also heightened the burden of retirement saving, as employees now bear more responsibility for their future financial security.

The survey also reveals that while 74% of Americans anticipate relying on government assistance in retirement, only 42% trust the government’s ability to support them.

This concern stems from the projected depletion of the Social Security trust fund in 2033, which could reduce promised benefits.

In comparison to other nations, Americans seem less confident about their retirement preparedness.

Countries like France, Singapore, and Mexico have higher proportions of residents reporting being on track with retirement planning and savings.

This discrepancy highlights the shortcomings of the US retirement system, particularly in terms of access to workplace retirement plans.

Several states are implementing “auto-IRA” programs to address this issue.

These programs mandate employers without retirement plans to facilitate payroll deductions into state-run programs, boosting worker access to retirement savings.

Though still in their early stages, these programs aim to close the retirement savings gap and increase retirement security for many Americans.

  • Overall sentiment: negative
  • Positive

    “For many families, money held in individual retirement accounts and 401(k)-type plans are a “key determinant” of future retirement security, according the according to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances.”

    “Yet, several states have launched so-called “auto-IRA” programs to boost worker access and try closing the retirement savings gap.”


    “Roughly half of households have a retirement account, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. Their median balance is about $87,000.”

    “In 2022, households in the bottom 25% by wealth had a $3,500 median net worth, according to the SCF. By comparison, the top 10% had a $3.8 million net worth.”

latest articles

explore more